Brett Fraser, the president of the Edmonton Stingers, gets tested for COVID-19 on Monday. (Edmonton Stingers Twitter photo)

Brett Fraser, the president of the Edmonton Stingers, gets tested for COVID-19 on Monday. (Edmonton Stingers Twitter photo)

Professional basketball in Canada begins return to action with COVID-19 testing

Abbotsford’s Fraser Valley Bandits, six other CEBL teams arrive in Ontario for Summer Series

All seven Canadian Elite Basketball League teams, including Abbotsford’s Fraser Valley Bandits, have descended onto St. Catharines, Ont. this week to begin preparation for the Summer Series event, which runs from July 25 to Aug. 9.

It’s the first semblance of pro sports in Canada and in the COVID-19 era that means safety, precautions and testing.

Bandits management told The News they are bringing a total of 15 people to the tournament, which includes players, coaches and other staff. They stated that ordinarily that number is usually over 20, but medical support is being sourced from the St. Catharines region so the team is not bringing a doctor, athletic therapist or a physiotherapist.

It’s a similar case for the other six teams in the league, as Bandits management said it is a very exclusive list of essential people that will be arriving and participating in the tournament.

Bandits vice president Dylan Kular said the tournament came to be after much consultation with Ontario health officials.

“All of our plans have been subject to the measures put in place by provincial, federal, and local public health and government officials,” he said. “Without their blessing we cannot move forward. We have been fully compliant with every requirement and will continue to be. Public health officials have worked closely with us to put in place exceptionally detailed medical protocols designed to keep our players, coaches, staff, local public and tournament officials safe.”

Every player and staff member at the tournament was tested for COVID-19 on Monday (July 13) after arriving. The test involves inserting a six-inch long swab into the cavity between your nose and mouth for approximately 15 seconds and rotating it several times. The swab is then inserted into a container and sent to a lab for testing. Niagara health authorities will then analyze the findings.

Anyone being tested will remain self-isolated until they receive word that they have tested negative and after receiving a negative test the individual will be allowed to train or work in the approved areas. A positive test will force the person to immediately adhere to the rules and supervision of local health authorities.

All players and staff who had arrived from outside of Canada for the tournament have been quarantined for two weeks as per the federal policy.

Kular said that testing and screening will be ongoing throughout the tournament.

“There will be daily screening and frequent testing of all individuals participating in the Summer Series,” he said. “There will be exhaustive cleaning measures at all times and in all areas of the arena, training facility and hotel. Also, each team will have someone designated to monitor their social distancing practices to make sure they conform to the six-foot rule. People will wear masks unless they are involved in the actual game or practice session. If an individual shows symptoms of COVID then they are given to the Niagara region health authorities for testing and contact tracing. Prior to round robin games commencing there will be another test administered.”

Players who test positive during the tournament will be immediately removed and provided a course of action by local medical officials. The CEBL has also created three safe zones: the Meridian Centre (where games are being played), a local training facility and a nearby hotel that is not open to the public during the tournament. The names of the hotel and the training facility will not be made public by the league.

“There will be very tight restrictions around who can enter the parameters of where we will live and work for the four weeks,” Kular said.

The names of those testing positive will not be made public, but the league may reveal the amount of players or staff that tested positive.

The Bandits open the Summer Series on July 26 against the Edmonton Stingers. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.

RELATED: Fraser Valley Bandits, CEBL bringing pro sports back later this month

basketball

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langley letter writer hopes after seeing how Willoughby developed, the Township protects Walnut Grove green spaces. (Langley Advance Times file)
LETTER: Walnut Grove resident cherishes Langley’s green spaces

Willoughby was allowed to develop without enough consideration for nature, writer says

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin stopping drivers on BC highways – check point at Manning Park

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

The Aquilini Investment Group has agreed to a proposed contract of five years to run the Abbotsford Centre. (File photo)
Proposal to run Abbotsford Centre offered to Canucks ownership group

Planned five-year contract to cost city $750K annually, starting Jan. 1, 2022

Integrated Homicide Investigation Team Sgt. Frank Jang said outside of Langley Sportsplex at 91a Ave and 200 Street after a man was fatally shot in April 2021. (Black Press Media file)
LETTER: Casual drug users have link to gang killings, says Langley letter writer

The Lower Mainland is in the midst of another gang war and the illicit drug market is part of it

Dr. Bonnie Henry B.C.’s provincial health officer, updates the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
BREAKING: Willoughby added to list of high-transmission COVID zones

Anyone 30 and over in the area can now register for a vaccine

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Serious crash in Surrey sends 1 to hospital

Surrey RCMP say one of the drivers fled on foot, but was later found at an area hospital

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. (Screen shot)
Salmon farmers warn Surrey jobs on line as feds end Discovery Islands operations

344 full-time jobs at risk in Surrey and 1,189 B.C.-wide

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read